Posts Tagged 'ephemera'

From the Collection: What’s in YOUR pockets?

by Ashley Houston, Collections Move Assistant

Have you ever pulled out your heavy coat for the first time in the winter season, stuck your hand in your pocket and found a movie stub from a year ago? I love those moments. This tiny object transports your mind back to a memory when you were laughing, crying, or simply just enjoying being with your family or friends. Well, as we have been going through the collection getting ready for the move to the new museum, I have had quite a few moments like that…only they’re not my memories, they’re someone else’s — and they’re over fifty years old.

Out of the pockets of several dresses, jackets, and pants I have found all sorts of objects left behind. Questions going whizzing by: who was this person? What meaning did these objects have to him or her? Where did they come from? The first set of objects I found sent all sorts of scenarios through my head. In the pocket of an old WWII uniform there was a ticket to see an orchestra, an address written on a small piece of paper, a pencil with the words “Camp Funston,” and a cigar band. Perhaps, this man had a blind date that he took to the orchestra and who lived at the address on the paper. Was Camp Funston where he was stationed? Were “Little William Penn” cigars his favorite?

In another WWII uniform I found a typewritten prayer. Did this man ever see battle? What was life like back then when you could be sent to war at any moment?

Some other fun finds from military uniforms were two tiny cloth sacks filled with tobacco and a penny with the wheat design on the back. The cloth sacks were really just a square piece of fabric gathered together and tied with a long piece of fabric. How things have changed over time, huh?

The last things that I found in pockets were crumpled up pieces of paper in a woman’s dress. Doesn’t one look like toilet paper? Yet it feels like normal writing paper. The other one is filled with math problems. So much for those snazzy cell phones with calculators on them!

From the Archive: Shall We Dance?

by Lesley Drayton, Curator of the Local History Archive

It’s always fun to come across little bits of personal ephemera here in the archive; I especially enjoy viewing items that I’m certain the original owner never imagined would end up saved in a museum.

Dance cards are great examples of this. The Local History Archive has many of these diminutive booklets that were carried by attendees at formal balls to keep track of dance partners during the evening. Dance cards also served as sweet souvenirs of a fun event; many cards have decorative covers and pages that reveal the date, location, sponsors, and even chaperones of the ball.

The dance card below is from the Kappa Alpha Theta Midwinter Dance that took place on February 12, 1932. The card still has the wrist cord with a tiny pencil attached. It appears that “Joan” was the favored partner of this dancer.

Kappa dance card

Kappa dance card

Kappa dance card, inside view

Kappa dance card, inside view

Dorothy Bunn’s card is from the Spring Dinner Dance sponsored by the Tau of Gamma Phi Beta. This dance occurred on May 16, 1931 at the famous Lewiston Hotel in Estes Park. Tragically, the hotel burned on September 4, 1941 and was never rebuilt.

Dorothy Bunn's dance card

Dorothy Bunn's dance card

Lewiston Hotel

Lewiston Hotel

Finally, this beanie-shaped dance card is from the Class of ’35 Frosh Party at Colorado Agricultural College (present-day Colorado State University) that took place January 8, 1932. A page on the interior reveals that Donelly James was on hand that evening, “dispensing melodies.”

Class of '35 Frosh Party dance card, Colorado Agricultural College

Class of '35 Frosh Party dance card, Colorado Agricultural College


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